That number may be inaccurate, don't quote me on that. Anyhow, this is supposed to be a woman who had an abortion. Not for the reason of unplanned teenage pregnancy, but rather because there is a high chance it would have a disability.
Or other option, as suggested by a friend; because she has AIDS. and yeeah... What do you think?
Mothers have a very special task. Tales of the lengths they will go to in order to protect their children are heartwarming, inspiring, and almost legendary. Veritable proof of human goodness in a world that is all too often cruel and uncaring. A mother's love is revered.
And it is that which makes what I have done the most ultimate of betrayals, the worst of crimes and most decadent violations of this sacred duty.
Shame is not an adequate emotion. I sacrificed the life of my child for my own... what? Peace of mind? That could not be further from the truth.
Because I thought I was not up to the task, that I was not capable of the love and degree of caring necessary?
I feel sick sick sick. The death of my baby demands justice. Take me to court, try me, condemn the perpetrator of this unspeakable crime. What human could be so heartless?
Is it because I thought I lacked stamina, resilience? Because I managed to deceive myself, to somehow be convinced that it was the best course of action? For both of us? That no life for my child was better than a life filled with struggles?
Millions, millions of people face the same thing, and even more debilitating problems, every day and emerge successful and happy, victorious over this disease.
Why couldn't my child have done the same?
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
That number may be inaccurate, don't quote me on that. Anyhow, this is supposed to be a woman who had an abortion. Not for the reason of unplanned teenage pregnancy, but rather because there is a high chance it would have a disability.
Yes, it's from the perspective of Death. Nothing like extreme personification. Again, unfinished. A friend's suggestion, which I love, is to reflect on the first person "I" sent to hell, and the first that went to heaven, and the extremes, etc. What is mentioned here isn't necessarily a reflection of my views; that of heaven and hell merely being holding bays for our souls that can fill up, etc. And I believe our souls are of incredible value, not mere waste left over after life is done with them. But that is neither here nor there in this instance. What think ye?
I am reluctant, you know. I am as much bound by this nature as you are by me. I am feared, despised by most. Eternally alone. Your fleeting presence is of no interference with this inescapable darkness, with me for one instant, already grey, the glow and warmth of life banished, left to another. The inheritance for yet one more of your kind.
They call it the cycle of life, the old giving way for the new with death and birth in turn, but while life indeed is recycled, what of those passed into death? Carted to their respective destinations, growing ever fuller. A faulty production line with no output for discarded material, which continues to accumulate. What then, when these final sites are at maximum capacity? Where then shall your souls find to stay, crowded and confused?
I wonder, sometimes. You see, I have of lot of it – time. I am governed by it also, but in a different way to you. Time is the customer bringing you to me, and I am the cashier, the register, all in one. Checking you out. You no longer belong to the store of the living. I am the go-between, the mediator, to what is beyond.
And what importance are you to me? None. I should be as disinterested in you as the cleaner resigned to his menial position, relegated to mopping floors that will only be stained again shortly, and his work begins again. But you intrigue me. My brief contact with you in this void place has sparked my curiosity. With no access to life except as its exeunt, I can’t resist the desire to know more about this whole experience.
Here, then, is my confession.
I am the gateway to heaven and hell. Funny, that some would question their very existence, for without those docking bays, why, I would your holding place once you have passed from life, something I am so vastly inadequately equipped for that it is laughable. Perhaps if you could catch a glimpse of what lies beyond, you would not be so afraid of me, for it is the uncertainty I bring that causes you so much fear, is it not? You humans are desperate to know, know, know, to control. You must understand before you can accept an idea, and yet at times you so easily accept what others tell you... A confounding species, indeed.
For, even if you could see that I am merely a passage into heaven and hell, that doesn't mean that you would believe. You believe what you wish to, ultimately, regardless of the facts that lie before you. Your minds are far more powerful that the majority of you will ever comprehend.
I am intrigued, then,
Monday, May 25, 2009
So, I'm testing a theory. A teacher told me this was almost like poetry. I split up sentences and paragraphs into lines and stanzas. Now, could you read this as (good) poetry? Since a lot of the time that seems to be a major difference between poetry and prose. Also, it would mean that I could enter a certain competition twice, once with another piece of prose, and then with this masquerading as poetry... Hahahah. Indulge me.
The wind wafts, gentle,
but firmly chilling,
An unwitting reminder to those hapless, earth-bound creatures
of her uncaring nature.
take a fondness to a thing, a being,
But she is as fickle as any of the gods of old.
She knows nothing of feelings. Emotions are
as pretty trinkets to her, and she carries them away with her
without the burden they bring humans.
Trite dealings of mankind - what are they to her?
She holds no interest in these matters,
weaving throughout and about these,
Monumental occasions, with a laugh,
Light as the tinkling of bells,
Felt more than heard. [more felt than heard?]
A thing of beauty, that sound, but
with a harsh edge, the cold
steel of a blade gleaming
as it is drawn from its sheath,
She is none the less beautiful for this hint at terror,
For, after all,
In all its unbridled intensity can only strike
Some nameless Fear into those, its beholders.
Lucky or luckless?
One is hard-pressed to say.
She glides swiftly at times, at others roaring
in brutal, reckless force
Across the oceans,
All untethered might, but despite this, there remains still
an undeniable femininity about her.
Those aggrieved, having fallen prey to a woman's wits, perhaps betrayed
and slighted, bitter lovers,
may sullenly tell that she consummates that female trait,
that cruel, calculated manipulation,
bending others to her will on
nothing more than a whim.
Yet such a notion being brought to her attention would receive
than a passing disdain; human thoughts and ideals,
She has reached the distant stars, skimmed the
rippling ink waves, coiffed the ash
clouds; she has danced in the shadows and the darkest of nights.
Amongst the treacherous rocks, leaping
with the salt spray,
she has leant her voice to the sirens' song,
alluring, bewitching, deadly.
She has no need of humility, no need for pride.
She does not boast - jealousy is a concept
of no bearing or use for her. She simply knows
all that she is
and embraces it.
Nothing more is necessary.
She hurtles on, breathes through each new terrain in turn,
For so has she, the night wind, done for all time,
and so she shall until its end.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Today, once I have hopefully survived and waded through the deluge of homework I find myself facing, I aim to take on "Faded Paint and Butterfly Wings" once more, armed to the teeth with all your helpful advice and critique. Thank you very much and I hope to put a revision version up once that is done. Feel free to help out some more now, and then as well, even if just with Title ideas, etc. I can't do this without you!
Saturday, May 9, 2009
This is a short piece, only about 385 words, in contrast with anything else I have written in a long time. This is the 2.5th draft [yes >.<] and while I very much like some of it, it did stem from another piece I began to write and so in making it it's own, it seems a little disjointed to me, particularly at the beginning and at various points throughout. So, suggestions? Also take note I wrote this in the night hours, so it could easily be terrible. Feel free to tell me, anonymously if you so will.
27/07/09 - an edited version, turned into poetry, (not the poem version later posted on this blog) of this has just been shortlisted finalist in the Adelaide Young Writers Awards. I'm very happy with that. :)
The wind wafts, gentle, caressing, but firmly chilling, an unwitting reminder to those hapless, earth-bound creatures of her uncaring nature. She may, briefly, take a fondness to a thing, a being, a place,but she is as fickle as any of the gods of old.
She knows nothing of feelings. Emotions are as pretty trinkets to her, and she carries them away with her effortlessly, without the burden they bring humans. Trite dealings of mankind - what are they to her? She holds no interest in these matters, weaving throughout and about monumental occasions with a laugh, light as the tinkling of bells, felt more than heard. [more felt than heard?]
A thing of beauty, that sound, but with a harsh edge, the cold steel of a blade gleaming as it is drawn from its sheath, glinting/glimmering with bloodlust. She is none the less beautiful for this hint at terror, for, after all, true beauty in all its unbridled intensity can only strike some nameless fear into those, its beholders. Lucky or luckless? One is hard-pressed to say.
She glides swiftly at times, at others roaring in brutal, reckless force across the oceans, all untethered might, but despite this, there remains still an undeniable femininity about her. Those aggrieved, having fallen prey to a woman's wits, perhaps betrayed and slighted, bitter lovers, may sullenly tell that she consumates that female trait of cruel, calculated manipulation, bending others to her will on nothing more than a whim. Yet such a notion being brought to her attention would receive no more than a passing disdain; human thoughts and ideals, meaningless.
She has reached the distant stars, skimmed the rippling ink waves, coiffed the ash clouds; she has danced in the shadows and the darkest of nights. Amongst the treacherous rocks, leaping with the salt spray, she has leant her voice to the sirens' song, alluring, bewitching, deadly.
She has no need of humility, no need for pride. She does not boast - jealousy is a concept of no bearing or use for her. She simply knows all that she is and embraces it. Nothing more is necessary.
She hurtles on and breathes through each new terrain in turn, uncaringly, unceasingly. For so has she, the night wind, done for all time, and so she shall until its end.
Friday, May 8, 2009
This isn't complete, as, you know, you may have realised from the title. Not that I actually like the Backstreet Boys or anything... >.< While I've had positive feedback for it, I'm not sure that I like it or that it is emotive enough. So, what are your thoughts? Should I continue it or can it?
It was only the strength of her fear that kept her rage from lashing out. Control was the thin membrane she wrapped around her, for if she lost that, only worse could follow, and angry as she now was, she knew that it would pass. She just had to keep still, draw the least attention possible. Maybe he would forget about her. She couldn’t have been drawn more tightly into herself, her arms wrapped so closely about her body and for so long that she was one mass of pins of needles, but her control held her in place, even as her drying tears left a horrible, sticky feeling over her downturned face. Don’t move.
Besides, more tears were sure to follow, eventually, as her scattered thoughts returned to the anger at hand. She could only distract herself so long, before the harsh electric light of the room pervaded her shelter, the cool, soothing darkness she sought to cloak herself in. Even now, bright sparks danced about her eyelids, as though they were sprites of a treacherous nature, or perhaps the dreaded, malicious will o’ wisps of folklore. She tried to delve deeper into her flimsy hiding place, to pretend again that she was a child, who thought that in not being able to see others, they in turn could not be seen.
“Come any nearer, and I will kill you.”
The remembrance of the unbridled menace in those soft words, spoken but a few minutes before, sliced through her, for she had recognised the truth laced into each syllable. It was this that held her deathly still, stifling her panicked, painful gasps for air into an occasional shallow drawing in of oxygen. The burning in her lungs was nearly unbearable, but all in all a welcome respite from the heart-stopping fear. Indeed, heart-stopping did not describe such a fear adequately, for yet one other sensation she could feel with alarming force was the pounding of her heart, so erratically and with such vigour that her chest heaved in time with its motions. She attempted to quell this forceful hammering within her, albeit without success – her terror merely caused a more rapid tempo – for it was a movement, and movement of any sort tied her down to reality. He would not hit her, nor punch her, for a mere tremor, even in the grip of this seething, wild fury, would not provoke him to such actions. No, physical sensations such as the light, the pain and feel of her pulse, were what kept her from mentally escaping the moment. She needed that escape, needed it more than breathing in that portion of time, since it was only herself she loathed in this situation, both for angering him to such proportions and for the helplessness and fear she felt. Reality was a terrible thing, and there was nothing she wanted less.
With escape to the imagination rendered impossible, she attempted desperately instead to concentrate only on those bodily actions, on breathing, on calming her hammering heartbeat.
It had happened before, but he had never hit her hard enough to bruise or break anything. It was the knowledge that he could, and that if she gave him any more incentive, he would. She understood only too well his side, for was she not herself so angry at him she could barely contain it? His anger was just one rung above hers, and she had propelled him to that height.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Terrified of being alone, stranded in a pool of merciless light, surrounded by the darkness. Even now the shadows stretch closer, dancing on the edges of this unprotected space. Too fearful to move, trying to pretend, as children while parents fight, as soldiers while bombs fall, breathing "it's okay" though I know it's a lie. Whispering it in my head, trying to drown out the noise - or is it the silence? - of being so alone. Creeping closer, tendrils caressing. Not long now.
It's the agony of waiting. Knowing already the inevitable end.
Fit to burst, the panic tightens the chest, rising, rising.
Ever rising. When will it begin? can'ttakeitcan'ttakeit
the shuddering, violent gasp, the shock of a harsh night air suddenly in the lungs,
skin so tight, pulled taut by expanding ribs,
pressure moving outward, upward; threatening to snap
bones like twigs, Crack. Crack.
Heart beating? no,
rather a pulsing of the blood, from temple to fingertip, fingertip to toe.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
She broke my heart with every glance I stole at her, with every word about it that slipped from her mouth. She was my younger sister, and she was beautiful. And she had no idea what she was doing. Or maybe she did. Who could say? Either way, it broke my heart. In the mornings, preparing for school in the bathroom, betwixt brushing of teeth, make-up application and hair syling, I'd sometimes catch her looking at me, oddly, intently. I'd ask what was the matter and her answer nearly stopped my breath. "You're so pretty... All the time." I'd stop in the middle of curling one set of eye lashes, as a twinge of something akin to sorrow shot through me. I wondered what she would said if I told her the same thing, and I despised the reply I knew I would receive.
My gorgeous sister, so blind to her own assets, the least of which was beauty. Why did she feel the need to correct these perceived imperfections she saw in himself? How could she not see what shone out so clearly for everyone else to see? I wanted to scream out what I saw in her, all the good she could never see; scream so that she would hear, and realise it for herself. And yet, for all my trying, she could never see the same person when she looked in the mirror that I saw when I looked at her.
Matter of perspective, indeed.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
I find it really hard to come up with topics to write about. In attempting to draw on my own life, I'm not really finding anything there. Which either means I'm not looking hard enough, or my life sucks ;P
So come on guys, any ideas for me? Anything at all. Even a random starting sentence. I'll make do with whatever I can. Desperate here. ;P
I need to practice my writing and write more often, so please help me. There's a short story competition in the newspaper of our city that's deadline is in June /Julyish, for high school students.
P.S. I'm really, really sick of writing in first person.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
// Let's Play Pretend // Just a Little Longer // Dress-ups and Lies
Iunno, you give me a title. And your constructive criticism (: It's unpolished, I know.
I'd been studying "Fly Away Peter" by David Malouf at school prior to writing this, you can see its style reflected in this.
She lifted her arms with the cardboard attached - her wings, smiled, and imagined she was flying. She was a butterfly, and although the crude water colours painted on her face cracked, she smiled all the more, desperate to continue the game. Playing pretend was a lot more fun than real life.
It took me by surprise, as she turned the corner. One moment absent from the scene, the next almost the whole of it. I could not look away, transfixed by the obviousness of it. First, there had been just the two toddlers. Then she had arrived, a young mum; theirs, it would seem, from her protective manner and attentive listening as they babbled, in the way that young children do. All perfectly normal. No, what I could not tear my eyes away from was the woman's belly, her horribly distended belly that burst out from her body, garishly vibrant in the bright red top she wore.
Pregnant. Heavily pregnant, from the looks of it. The sight dragged up an array of half worded fears and a turmoil I was not yet ready, or able, to face; and so I pushed each thought away as it tumbled to the forefront of my mind, swatting it back before I could form the proper words for it, and in doing so, give my demons form. I would hide in denial for a while longer. Reality could wait.
I bent my head, forcing myself to grasp the words on the open page of the book I was holding. I struggled for a few seconds, attempting to force them to take on some meaning, but my mind wandered, and I found my eyes once more on the woman.
It was as though, like a small child playing pretend, she had stuffed a large melon underneath the clothes she wore, proudly pronouncing the baby inside of her. Logic dictated that this could not be the case. She was an adult. Even though I was not yet old enough to legally be seen as one, I was no longer a child, either, and when it come to playing pretend, I played the adults' way - more sophisticated, stylised, even subtle, but still, sometimes, for the same childish purposes, serving darker, sinister ends. To some of us, this game becomes a matter of life or death. It is everything. A pretence we are trapped in, willingly or not. How I wish I had not to play pretend to my own self, but anything truer was frightening. When had we allowed ourselves to grow so weak that we weren't steeled to face the facts? How could we have learned to prefer living in a lie than in the truth, no matter how scary it may be? We ran and we hid and pretended that we were still fighting at the front, daring any to challenge us in our lie.
What is worse is that I know this, and am still too fearful to leave the pretence behind. It is a rare thing to see someone step forward, acknowledge and confront the darkness. Humans, I am convinced, for the most part, are mere cowards convinced that we are brave.
An image from a memory flashed through my contemplation, leaving me wincing, attempting too late to block it out. The remnants of the memory rushed forward once again, as I mentally scrabbled to build defences, or maybe push the fragments away, dangerous as broken glass. Taken unawares, as always. Hiding anything from oneself is damn hard, but when it comes to concealing a memory that refuses to be lost from consciousness; that is simply impossible. If I could consciously repress memory, I'd rid my mind of that one in an instant.
In keeping with the established pattern, a wave of realisation followed the memory. With closed lids I continued to inwardly berate myself.
How could I have done something so stupid???
The "what-ifs" were rude, taking up all the space in my mind, and even then, shoving and pushing, jabbering noisily, bickering incessantly. How was I supposed to get any peace?
I know, I know.
I could get no real peace of mind till I knew for certain, one way or another. But until I took the necessary steps, I should be able to get some quiet, just occasionally. When the only thing that drowned out the questions was a range of distractions, peace was no option.
If I found out and it was so, what would I do then? All possible options were terrifying.
If I wished hard enough then perhaps it would not be. I wasn't superstitious but this presence, this fear, had me wishing on 11.11 and first stars every night. Just in case. I stifled a wail, feeling its anguish reverberate through me all the same.
What was I going to do???
It wasn't even definite, but I had never been one to live by logic, and in such a time, my emotions were far too prominent for rationale to have much say at all.
Trying not to be obvious, I pressed the palm of one hand against my own stomach, reassuringly flat, particularly in comparison to that of the mother who still stood in my direct line of vision, engrossed in discussion with her children. I tried to imagine a living... thing growing on the other side of those layers of clothes, skin and various other body matter. I had done this before, curiously, in anticipation of some far off day when I may have desired to have my own children. A far off day, and even then, it was not assured; in any case not a day anytime soon. Especially not this soon. Not when I was still in school, in my final year, still not grown up.
I had so much growing up to do yet, and I wasn't in a hurry for it to occur. For every reason I could remotely consider, a child was not something I wanted. It had been a month, and with every day that passed, my regret and fear grew stronger. Even now, cells could be gathering together within my body, creating a new life. I didn't want another life inside of me!
How many more mistakes was I to make before I learned something? I had so many regrets already. It just couldn't be. There was no way.
Paint and wings abandoned, she continued to play pretend all those years later. Pretending she wasn't hurting, pretending she wasn't scared, that it hadn't happened, and that there wasn't even a remote chance of her worst fear coming to pass. It felt safer in the dark. And so she smiled all the more, desperate to continue the game. Playing pretend was a lot more fun than real life.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
[Second draft, the first being written between the hours of 11PM and 1AM. Constructive criticism, go.]
[I am aware that some of you may find this distasteful in light of the recent bushfires in Victoria, but for me, this is a process in dealing with it, in trying to wrap my head around why someone could do this. There are so many different reasons, but this is where my story has taken me...]
I watched, captivated, as the sparks spread. They were fierce, unstoppable, and they were mine. Could it be ignored? It didn't matter anymore, if you didn't notice me. You noticed this. And it was mine.
It was growing, powerful; the winds and heat had helped fan it further than I had expected. I could barely contain myself.
You've just returned from fighting them, of course; you came in late, as you did last night and the night before. I heard you climbing the stairs, wearily, each movement a struggle. No doubt you were covered in grime and soot; no doubt you ached, barely able to think. The way you like it. The sound of water falling as you shower is soothing, but I cannot let myself fall to sleep.
Small sounds as you dress, and then you are climbing into bed beside me. A flash of memory hits, the ghosts of a time past, in which a younger you gently kissed the cheek of a younger I, almost asleep; a time when there was still a vibrant love that hung in the air between us.
How things change, how they fade and dull. A mirror put aside, covered in dust, a faint reflection perhaps to be made out upon fierce squinting; its clarity gone. Much like our love, I thought. The flames of our love had died out, but these flames of mine now would burn for much longer. This fire of mine called for attention, as it leapt about, flickering; here, now also there, continually growing. Hungry.
My fire didn’t just call for attention; indeed, it demanded it, daring others to try to ignore it, if they could. It demanded attention, like I had longed to do but couldn’t, and it was the fire itself that saved me. I remember the day it began.
Waking to white walls and the smell of disinfectant, exhausted and hurting; the pain gripping before I could even recall. Words were thrown around, in the minutes and hours that followed - "miscarriage", "everything that could have been done was", "my condolences"... That was where it all started, really. When the words made me want to scream, and I felt the knowledge that I was being ripped apart on the inside, I did nothing but wait for it, this terrible end I deserved. It didn’t come.
I once grabbed a knife, determined to give it a release, anything to get this out of me, but I couldn't do it. I don't know why. And the pain continued day after day, torturing silently, mercilessly, within the confines of my rib cage.
You were there, but from the moment I woke, you weren't, not really. It was like you had left; as though the death of our son, this murder I had let my body commit, had severed that which tied us together. They say you were there for me, and I suppose it appeared that way. You said the right phrases, you held me. But all the while you were away somewhere, in some other place; and I knew from your eyes and the cold rigidity of your arms around me that it was a place where our son was alive, where his mother wasn't also his killer. I knew you hated me for it, but all that mattered was that the pressure building up was crushing me. Sooner rather than later, I would combust. Fragments of skin, muscle, and bone would splatter the room in a spray of blood, and then the fire burning up from within, finally free, would take everything with it, leaving my remains a charred black dust, when it was done.
You turned towards fire-fighting more than ever. I knew you imagined every time that you were protecting him, saving him, as you could not save him from me. You accused me with your look, when you could force yourself to be around me long enough. Murderer.
And then I found my saviour.
I lit a match, outside one day. To see this thing, to see this thing that was inside of me, destroying me. That was when it came to me.
And it was so simple, you know. So obvious. I opened my hand and watched it fall. The patch of weeds it fell on burned, viciously, ferociously, and I could feel that this fire was the fire inside of me, leaving a little. Burning outside rather than inside. It grew. I knew I should put it out, but I couldn't. The burning was leaving me. I watched as it burnt, all of it; and as our home went up in flames I felt nothing but an ever-growing relief.
When the smoke and the flames alerted others, you came in your truck, you and your yellow-suited colleagues. You thought I was standing there silently due to shock, but I was silent with amazement, reverent. And when you put your arms around me and held me, like you used to, for that brief second; I realised just how powerful my fire was. Releasing me and bringing you back to me.
But even that couldn't keep you, could it? It was not enough, and so that moment passed. The fires were more and more my everything, as they wove their way through our lives, now separate, but bringing them back together. I lit them, and you had to take notice just as you could not notice me; had to put in effort, had to stop them; and so our lives were once more intertwined, although you could not know.
Even better, I was being freed. The fierce gnawing from within had calmed, slowed, and the only thing left was to create more flames outside, where more of the burning within would join in, leaving me a little freer. Slowly. Surely.
When it takes lives? Better still. Because you feel that you have lost, that you are also to blame for the murder of our son, you could not save him even when you tried. Remember, I wanted our son too. I loved him also.
There is more to the fire than you know. More than I knew. But I understand, now. All this time, it was all just the catalyst (is this the right context? i don't know if i've used it correctly?). These fires alone will never be enough to free me. And I cannot take this fire within any longer.
Peace is coming, shortly. I will finally be free. This is the final revenge for you too. Because with this love for you that I never quite lost, is this hatred grown stronger than that love.
But the fire has the solution. It has the solution to everything.
I can see you now, asleep once more, as I sit next to you where you lie on our bed. I am doused already. I take your hand for a second, and you stir slightly. Odd, how it could be a stranger's hand I hold. Your touch is no longer familiar to me in any way.
I strike the match, watch the small flame flicker. So small, and yet, it will grow. Ever hungry, but I shall feed it. As it has infinite times before. There is nothing to fear.
It was so simple, you know, all this time. So obvious. I open my hand and watch the match fall.
Is it obvious enough that she is setting herself on fire, and her husband/partner?
I know I changed tense somewhere =/
I'm tired and I don't even know if it's good, so comments please. A title would be nice too. I will revise and edit. (:
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
In English Studies, we had to do a recount based on a phrase we could choose out of a list. There weren't that many options... I picked "It was a disaster". While I couldn't be bothered using my imagination, I couldn't come up with much from my life either. Thus, the story of my fish... Get excited >.< (Really, I wouldn't bother reading it, it's not that great, or even interesting... lol) It was a disaster. (Teacher's corrections in red, my own commentary in square brackets)
When I was five, my younger sister and I entered a colouring competition at the local pet store. I believe the picture we were required to colour in was of a fish, although I can't quite recall; but I do know that all who entered received a goldfish, which is how, for a brief space of time, our family ended up with two.
We've never had much success with pets, although these hapless specimens were the first. We've had a rabbit, amongst other animals, and the wretched thing always seemed to escape from its hatch, running away, sometimes for days at a time. My sister, though she barely cared for him while he was there, was inconsolable at his loss, particularly one time when we thought he was gone forever, only to be brought back nearly a week later by a neighbour. However, this is not about the rabbit. This is not about the bird, or the hermit crabs, or the sea monkeys. This is about the goldfish.
I remember the initial curiosity of those small, orange fish, swimming around in two clear plastic bags filled with water. It seemed careless to me, to carry them in such a wary; for if my mother lost her hold on the wobbly sacks [LOL at using the word "sack", which aside from anything else, is just a word I find amusing], if they fell onto the hard asphalt of the car park, surely the fish would spill out of the untied bags in a rush of water, gasping and flapping their fins helplessly in the moments before they died. Dead before they were even truly ours, before they reached home.
Such was the worry of my young mind [I was not worried, I was merely speculating], but these fears were not to come to pass; the fish
being were safely delivered to their new bowl at home.
For a time they were happy, or so I assumed, well fed and with clean water as they were. They did not show any sign of emotion, and I quickly grew bored with these new additions to our household, who seemed to merely swim, incessantly, circling their tiny living quarters. What dull creatures they were, I thought, opening and closing their mouths which, together with their rounded eyes, gave them a vacant appearance that irritated me.
Truth be told, the only real fascination the fish (who we never named, as far as I'm aware) held for me was in watching them from different angles; from above or through the curved glass of the bowl. The changing sizes and disproportionate shapes greatly intrigued me; something about water that I must confess captivates me even today.
I was not, unfortunately, to spend much time examining this strange phenomenon in the context of the fish bowl. My mother decided that to keep the fish safe from possible knocks to the ground, she would keep thir bowl atop a large cupboard, far above the reach of our little hands.
Ultimately, it was this that spelled the end for one of the fish.
One fateful day, the fish bowl was filled up higher than usual with water. Back in its place on top of the cupboard, one of the fish jumped, as they apparently are wont to do, and with the water as high as it was, it managed to jump so high that it landed out of the bowl, on the cupboard.
Unseen, its life came to an end, only to be found when my mother next came to change the water or give the fish food.
I can't say I was saddened; the goldfish had never really been of importance to me and I might have cared more about the breaking of a leg on one of my dolls.
The lone goldfish must have lived on for quite a while longer, but I cannot know for certain, as our family moved overseas shortly after the death of the first, rending it necessary that we found another home for the remaining fish. Again, I was not sorry to see it go. In the cynical thoughts of my younger self, I seem to recall a feeling of glee at what the unknowing recipients had gotten themselves into, having to look after an animal that would not provide any entertainment.
I've never really been that keen on fish.